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Current price: $27.00
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022
Bloomsbury Publishing


"A magnificent portrayal of Nelly Bly in all her journalistic integrity and daring.” --New York Journal of Books

"The perfect example of the power of an individual to question, and change, the status quo." --Christian Science Monitor

Based on a true story, a spellbinding historical novel about the world's first female investigative journalist, Nellie Bly.

In 1887, young Nellie Bly sets out for New York and a career in journalism, determined to make her way as a serious reporter, whatever that may take.

But life in the city is tougher than she imagined. Down to her last dime and desperate to prove her worth, she comes up with a dangerous plan: to fake insanity and have herself committed to the asylum on Blackwell's Island. There, she will work undercover to expose the asylum's wretched conditions.

But when the asylum door swings shut behind her, she finds herself in a place of horrors, governed by a cruelty she could never have imagined. Cold, isolated and starving, her days of terror reawaken the traumatic events of her childhood. She entered the asylum of her own free will - but will she ever get out?

An extraordinary portrait of a woman ahead of her time, Madwoman is the story of a quest for the truth that changed the world.


About the Author

Louisa Treger, a classical violinist, studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher. She subsequently turned to literature, earning a Ph.D. in English at University College London, where she focused on early-twentieth-century women's writing and was awarded the West Scholarship and the Rosa Morison Scholarship “for distinguished work in the study of English Language and Literature”. Louisa's first novel, The Lodger, was published by Macmillan in 2014. She lives in London.

Praise for Madwoman

"At a time when trust in the media is at an all-time low, Louisa Treger’s Madwoman is a thoughtful reminder of how journalism can drive positive change … the perfect example of the power of an individual to question, and change, the status quo." - Christian Science Monitor

"A compelling portrait of 19th-century journalist Nellie Bly … Recommended for fans of feminist historical fiction." - Shelf Awareness

“Romantic tension with an asylum doctor and suspense as to Nellie's release combine with Treger's . . . use of the real-life Bly's famous 'stunt journalism' to highlight the horrific plight of endangered women-many perfectly sane but inconvenient wives, prostitutes, and immigrants were deemed insane-and the appalling state of nineteenth-century mental health care.” —Booklist

“I highly recommend this fictionalized account of Nellie Bly's early life and her fierce determination to go undercover at Blackwell's Asylum. A truly riveting read.” —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

"Vivid and written with compassion, Treger illumines Bly’s risky reporting that led to radical reform." - Toronto Star

Madwoman . . . weaves a fascinating true story of the world's first female investigative journalist, Nellie Bly . . . This story of a pioneer woman is superbly and engrossingly presented.” —Mystery & Suspense Magazine

“. . . a magnificent portrayal of Nelly Bly in all her journalistic integrity and daring.” —New York Journal of Books

“A spirited account of a flamboyant life.” —The Times (London) on THE DRAGON LADY

“An effective mix of romance, mystery, and history, The Dragon Lady is an accomplished narrative of world-changing geopolitics from a distant continent, nevertheless relevant to modern times. The story is both absorbing and enlightening, and its focus on one couple's spiraling crises will keep readers spellbound.” —Washington Independent Review on THE DRAGON LADY